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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

For the past week I've been leaving messages for the person in charge of the magnet school bus routes.

Her answering machine message ends with "Have a blessed day" and she has not returned any of my calls.

Something about the combination of these two facts is profoundly annoying to me.

Both Stephen and Emily ride the same bus route to school. Steve's bus arrives at 6.25, and Em's at 8.40. Same bus, same driver,same route, same stop. (Their respective schools are next door to each other). Weeks ago, I requested bus stop changes for both kids, since their current stop is not really within walking distance. (It's about two miles away). Happily, Steve's bus stop changed last week - it's now a pleasant five-minute walk from home. It would have been nice if they'd told me they were actually changing it, instead of my having to figure it out when he didn't get off the bus at the normal spot ... but that's a minor quibble.

Emily's bus stop, however, remained the same. After a week of leaving messages, this morning I finally got hold of the woman who does the scheduling. (She didn't seem to feel at all remorseful for not having returned any of my calls, by the way). I had assumed that she'd be able to have Em's bus stop at the same corner that Steve's bus now stops. But no. Apparently that is completely, utterly, impossible. Never mind that the high school bus is using it. Never mind that Em is the only kid from our entire area who rides this bus, so changing the stop inconveniences no-one else, and in fact would speed up the route. That particular stop is Out Of The Question. They were, however, prepared to put in a stop on the main road, about 1.5 miles away, at the entrance to another subdivision. (A subdivision which contains no children attending Emily's school). I asked why they couldn't stop at the intersection closest to our subdivision, and, after lengthy and tedious discussion, it seems that in fact there's no reason why they couldn't. So, as of Friday, they will. It'll be about an eight minute walk, I think, much better than what we've had. I just don't understand why it had to be such a painful process to get to this point.

Oh, and another niggly annoyance. When Em started school, after I'd studied the bus routes exhaustively, I worked out that if she rode her current bus to school, but rode an alternate one home, she'd get home 25 minutes earlier. But the transportation people said, no way, no how, you absolutely have to ride the same bus in and out. As of this morning, however, they are quite happy for her to ride her original bus in and the quicker one home. In fact, they said, almost combatively, that she had to. Almost as though they expected that I'd argue with them about it.

I just don't understand bureaucrats.

I also don't understand why, as soon as it technically becomes Autumn - even though the weather certainly doesn't reflect it yet - the local grocery store feels compelled to get out their revolting cinnamon brooms and pile them up at the entrance. For those of you lucky enough to be baffled by that sentence, one can buy here (if one is so inclined) a decorative (and I use the word loosely) broom - the kind a storybook witch would have, only brown - that is permeated with violently strong fake-cinnamon aroma. I don't know quite what one would do with it, but there you go. So now every time I go to the store I have to sneeze my way past the Fake Cinnamon Gauntlet.

The troubles some people have, eh?

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